To obtain a Decree of Judicial Separation you must go to the Circuit Court or the High Court, depending on the value of the assets in the case. This can be a lengthy process and should only be applicable where the parties cannot agree on terms to separate. The rule of thumb is that the parties should be separated for at least one year before issuing proceedings however the Act does provide for situations where this is not necessary, for example, unreasonable behaviour.
A Judicial Separation can be a costly legal remedy. It will involve attending at Court and also settlement meetings to see if any terms can be agreed. It will also involve full financial disclosure from both parties.
The Court will consider the following:
- Family Home
- Pension rights
- Inheritance Rights
- Division of other property and marital assets
If the pension is a significant asset of the marriage this may involve instructing a pension expert to value same. Regarding custody and access, the Court will have regard to what is in the children’s best interests. The Court will also have to bear in mind that proper provision needs to be made for both spouses.